Who Marries Immigrants?: Marriage Trends among America's New Second Generation

Daniel T. Lichter, Cornell University
Julie H Carmalt, Cornell University

Rates of Asian and Hispanic intermarriage with whites declined for the first time during the 1990s (Qian & Lichter 2007). One hypothesis, which we test here, is that the recent influx of new immigrants has apparently provided an expanding marriage market for second-and third-generation Asians and Hispanics, reinforced cultural and ethnic identity, and slowed the process of marital assimilation. In this paper, we use data from the March Current Population Survey (1994-2006) to identify second-generation Asians and Hispanics who marry (1) foreign-born pan-ethnics; (2) native-born pan-ethnics; and (3) whites. A working assumption is that marriages to foreign-born pan-ethnics (vis-à-vis marriage to either native-born minorities or to whites) both challenge straightline assimilation theory and represent a possible departure from full social and economic incorporation of new immigrant groups into American society. Our results reveal declining rates of marriage over the study period with whites and their native-born minority counterparts.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 45: Demography of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders